Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Iris and Golden Alexander

After seeing how iris was invading the cemetery in the prior post, I spent the day removing iris from several natural areas at Habitat Home. I love iris, they are beautiful and so easy to grow. But they are not native and look rather out of place in a native habitat area. They can wander about and form large patches eliminating the native plants. I removed any iris from the large native areas that are being restored to native habitats (savanna, prairie and the meadow).

The iris in the above photo, however, is in a front bed planted with both natives and exotics. This iris blooms at the same time as the Golden Alexander, Zizia aurea. That is all it does, it looks lovely while they are both blooming. It adds no value for birds or insects or mammals. Even the deer leave iris alone. I wish I could.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Prospect Cemetery Prairie

Thanks to a recent Facebook post from Grand Prairie Friends, we decided take a short ride to Paxton to see some spring prairie flowers. The site is right off the road and one enters though the unlocked memorial gate. There is no path so we just wandered about the cemetery complete with old grave stones lying about. The site has a serious Day Lilly and Iris problem which is being worked on. It was so enjoyable to see plants that once were native to this area that, sadly, one seldom sees any more.
prairie phlox (Phlox pilosasrc)
prairie phlox, Phlox pilosa

false toad-flax (Comondra umbellata)
false toad-flax, Comondra umbellata

yellow star-grass (Hypoxis hirsuta)
yellow star-grass, Hypoxis hirsuta

wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis)
wood betony, Pedicularis canadensis

hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens)
hoary puccoon, Lithospermum canescens

This site is a reminder of what we have lost. It was sad to see the barren adjacent farm field, the plastic factory across the street, the landscapes of the neighborhood homes and the neglected tombstones lying about. All signs of what our society is up to, except for some folks at Grand Prairie Friends who make an effort to maintain some of the few remaining high quality prairie remnants in our area. The folks at Habitat Home thank you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wolf River Apple Tree

Our three apple trees are loaded with blossoms this year. These are the blossoms of the Wolf River Apple tree. We also have a Honey Gold and a Lodi apple tree. All three apple trees are standard size trees which we planted in 1993. They are reminders of an idea of having an orchard at one time. I am however glad that we did plant them. They do provide food for many animals and birds and add beauty to the site.